Sunitinib malate for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma

Lori Wood
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2012, 13 (9): 1323-36

INTRODUCTION: Over the past decade, a greater understanding into the molecular pathogenesis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has led to major advances in treatment options. Sunitinib is an oral, small-molecule, multi-targeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that targets a number of receptors, including vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR) and platelet-derived growth factor receptors (PDGFR). Sunitinib was one of the first targeted agents studied in metastatic RCC (mRCC) and is currently used worldwide in the management of mRCC.

AREAS COVERED: This drug evaluation addresses the preclinical and clinical development of sunitinib. It provides an in-depth discussion of the Phase II data that led to its approval in mRCC and the subsequent Phase III clinical trial comparing sunitinib to interferon-α. More recent data from the large international expanded access trial, in non-clear cell carcinoma patients, different dosing schedule studies and safety issues are also discussed. Finally, areas for the future use of sunitinib, including in the adjuvant setting, are reviewed.

EXPERT OPINION: Since the FDA approved sunitinib for advanced RCC in January 2006, much more has been learned about its efficacy and tolerability. Over the past decade of its clinical use, it has become clear that expertise is required when prescribing sunitinib, in terms of maximizing dose, anticipating and managing side effects, and assessing responses. In the future, a better understanding of sunitinib's role compared with other VEGF TKIs and mTOR inhibitors, and in other roles such as the adjuvant setting or in non-clear cell pathology, will become evident.

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